All Commentary
Thursday, April 1, 1993

We Hold These Truths

Social Security has always been the mother lode of political ore for politicians to mine.

The first edition of this book appeared in 1976 as both a bicentennial tribute and reminder to the American people of their ideological origins; this revised edition was published in 1992. Its 21 chapters are an excellent introduction to the theory and history of American constitutional government.

Dr. Larry McDonald wrote the book while he was serving as a congressman from Georgia, several years before he and 268 others on a South Korean jetliner were killed by the Soviet Air Force in 1983. This new edition contains the texts of both the Declaration of Independence (and its signers) and the Constitution (and its amendments), as well as two tributes offered at Congressman McDonald’s memorial service.

Congressman McDonald’s discussion of Social Security discloses both the strength of the man and the book:

For more than half a century, most leading politicians and other government officials have lied to the people about social security insurance. Government sold the people on the idea that they were buying a good, cheap insurance policy which would be honestly administered by government . . . .

But the government program was never insurance. It laid payroll taxes aside in a trust fund of government debt—not as a reserve to pay long range liabilities, but as an emergency reserve to use in years when social security taxes fell below social security benefits. Private insurance operators doing that sort of thing would be prosecuted . . . .

Why would politicians lie to the people ? Because social security has always been the mother lode of political ore for politicians to mine. For more than five decades they have been buying votes for themselves with promises to improve the social security system by increasing its benefits and allowing more people to participate . . . .

We Hold These Truths would make an excellent text for high school government classes or homeschoolers.